The Council on Foreign Relations has produced this brief – we are sharing it with the Pakistani readers with profound thanks to the CRF. Raza Rumi
In a significant move to strengthen its democratic institutions, Pakistan’s political leaders have signed into law constitutional reforms (BBC) that include limiting the power of the presidency and restoring power to the provinces. Many hope the reforms will help the country tackle its many crises–security, economic, and political. Some experts in the United States also see constitutional reforms that support the implementation of the provincial autonomy provisions as essential to Pakistan’s security, otherwise threatened by ethnic and separatist tensions.
Pakistan’s stability is important to Washington, which depends on Pakistani cooperation to fight extremism and achieve its goals in Afghanistan. Washington acknowledges that economic and political reforms are essential to Pakistan’s future and has promised aid and resources to “support civil society and electoral processes to help ensure the continuation of elected civilian government and constitutional rule.” Yet some experts question whether a stronger parliament, empowered by the provisions of the eighteenth amendment, will prove an effective counterweight to the country’s powerful military. Continue reading
Published in the Daily Times
Giving Credit Where it’s Due (Daily Times 04/26)
By Agha Haidar Raza
Pakistan recently had two major delegations visiting the US. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi led the first contingent under the auspices of a new ‘Strategic Dialogue’ with the US. In the second trip, Prime Minister Gilani led his team to President Obama’s first Nuclear Summit. Attended by over 47 heads of state, the summit was the largest gathering of world leaders to descend upon the US soil since the 1940s. Recognised as one of the world’s safe-keepers of a nuclear stockpile, Pakistan gained a nod of approval from the world’s seven nuclear bomb carriers.
I am unaware if many journalists or citizens in Pakistan read foreign newspapers, magazines or even blogs, but over the course of the nuclear summit, many international media outlets praised our country. From the words of admiration showered on Pakistan by President Obama for keeping its nuclear arsenal safe, to the positive role played by Prime Minister Gilani, it was our time to be in the limelight. Much attention was directed towards the professionalism of Army Chief General Parvez Kayani while the brilliant display of diplomacy carried out by Ambassador Husain Haqqani did not go unnoticed. Penned as a key ally of the US and taking the war to the very militants who threaten the fabric of our peace and security, Pakistan garnered much respect from the world community. Continue reading
Filed under Army, Benazir Bhutto, Constitution, Democracy, Economy, Egalitarian Pakistan, India, Islamabad, Jinnah's Pakistan, Judiciary, Kerry Lugar Bill, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan, public policy, state, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, Yusuf Raza Gillani, Zardari